GMPA

Strengthening local welfare provision

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Next steps
By Graham Whitham

In December, GMPA launched our Strengthening the role of local welfare assistance report. The report identifies good practice and recommendations from across the country and considers how these can be applied to local welfare assistance schemes here in Greater Manchester.

Local welfare assistance schemes are an important means through which local authorities can respond to the needs of residents facing a financial crisis. Relatively small interventions delivered through these schemes can help meet a person’s immediate needs and prevent them from falling deeper into hardship. However, national research has found that there’s often a lack of awareness of schemes, that they are poorly advertised and difficult to access.

In Greater Manchester, where all local councils have schemes in place, there is some existing good practice and a real opportunity to strengthen support in each of our boroughs. Taking the recommendations detailed in the report, GMPA has developed a checklist for local authorities and their partners to use to assess their schemes and understand what further improvements could be made. Importantly, at a time when local authority finances are coming under even greater pressure, most of the recommendations come at no extra cost.

We are pleased with the engagement we’ve had on the report to date. This month we held events for elected members, council officers and other stakeholders from across GM, and we’ll continue to work with councils and their partners over the course of this year.

Of particular relevance as we (hopefully) begin to recover from the pandemic, is the focus in the report on taking a ‘cash first’ approach to supporting people. This means that the default way in which someone facing hardship is supported is through a monetary payment rather than in-kind support such as a fuel voucher or food parcel.

Local welfare assistance schemes represent an obvious opportunity for local authorities to adopt this approach as a key role of schemes is to support residents with essential living costs for those in financial crisis, such as buying food or heating their home. Whilst most of the schemes in Greater Manchester offer this support, it is usually in the form of vouchers.

There has been a range of research highlighting the benefits of cash payments over any other form of support for those in financial crisis due to its:

a) Flexibility, choice, speed and convenience – vouchers have to be used with certain companies or certain locations or for certain products; cash can be used anywhere and if issued electronically, is available immediately. Vouchers may mean someone having to travel a distance to buy food, costing them money and time, when they could have used their local shop if they had access to cash, benefiting the local economy. There is a much greater risk that vouchers won’t be used compared to money.

b) Preservation of dignity – having to use vouchers can be stigmatising and may reduce access to the support that residents desperately need.

c) Administrative efficiency (when processed electronically) – once an electronic system is set up to pay cash it can be processed quickly and remotely, without the need for face-to-face visits. This approach removes the need to make arrangements with third parties (e.g. voucher providers) further reducing administrative pressures.

Graham Whitham, CEO GMPA for GM Poverty Action

Graham Whitham, CEO GMPA

Adoption of a ‘cash first’ approach by local welfare assistance schemes across Greater Manchester would help contribute to addressing the atomisation of poverty that we’ve seen over the last ten years. You can read more about the importance of this approach in our ‘Cash first’ briefing and in the Strengthening the role of local welfare assistance report.

 

 

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Strengthening local welfare provision

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Events in March will explore strengthening local welfare provision

Local welfare assistance schemes can play a central role in the local safety net, meeting people’s immediate needs and averting deepening hardship and deprivation.

Lack of government guidance and support on how schemes should operate means that they have evolved differently in each locality and not everywhere in England has a scheme in place. All ten of our Greater Manchester boroughs have worked hard to retain local provision and there are some examples of good practice locally. However, we also know that more needs to be done to scale up that good practice across the city region, raise awareness of schemes and ensure local support best meets the needs of low-income residents.

Research by GMPA has found that the type of support, how support is accessed, knowledge of schemes and the level of funding that goes into them varies considerably from one borough to the next.

As we enter a period that will lay bare the economic damage of COVID-19, Greater Manchester Poverty Action’s latest report (published in December) – Strengthening the role of local welfare assistance – provides a series of recommendations to improve schemes.

The recommendations include taking a ‘cash first’ approach to supporting people, simplifying the application process, taking a case worker approach to supporting residents that helps prevent future financial hardship and ensuring schemes can be accessed by different population subgroups.

LWAS report infographic for GM Poverty Action

Most of the recommendations in the report come at no-cost. Where there are cost implications, upfront investments are suggested that will deliver savings in the long run by improving outcomes for residents and reducing pressure on other services.

Local authority delivered local welfare schemes need to be joined up with other help in each locality, enabling councils, housing providers and VCSE sector organisations to coordinate support.

Alongside the report, GMPA has produced tools for local authorities and their partners to use to enhance schemes and measure their effectiveness.

GMPA will be holding an event on Tuesday March 23rd, from 10am using Zoom to explore the findings and recommendations from the report.  This event is aimed at people working for local authorities, housing providers, VCSE sector organisations and other stakeholders. To book your place click here.

At the event you’ll hear from report author Simon Watts and Graham Whitham, GMPA Chief Executive. There will be opportunity for questions and presentations will take attendees through the support tools developed alongside the report.

 

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Making Greater Manchester a Real Living Wage City Region

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GM Living WageAt the launch event for Living Wage Week 2020 on November 9th, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, called on every sector partner and stakeholders to work towards making Greater Manchester the first Real Living Wage City Region in the UK. He urged businesses, local government, the public sector, trades unions and the voluntary, faith and community sectors to work together to make a step change in the movement to create a more just and equal society and an economy that works for all.

The Mayor said: “This announcement clearly demonstrates Greater Manchester’s commitment to the Real Living Wage and good employment in the city-region – ensuring that our citizens earn enough to make ends meet, creating an inclusive economy and helping us to build back better.” and he added that he planned to convene an Action Group in GM to oversee proposals to increase the number of accredited Living Wage Employers across all sectors in all ten city-region’s boroughs.

The GM Living Wage Campaign (GMLWC) welcomed this announcement and we have committed ourselves to work with the Mayor and others to achieve this ambition. The goal of Greater Manchester being a Living Wage city region has been a key aim of the GMLWC since it’s inception.

Since the announcement in November the GMLWC Campaign Co-ordinator John Hacking has been working with the GM Combined Authority, The Living Wage Foundation and GM Citizens UK to map out the steps and actions needed to achieve Living Wage City Region status. This process will ultimately see GM accredited as a Living Wage city region by the Living Wage Foundation.

To achieve this accredited status, a GM Real Living Wage Action Plan will be formulated which will include work by a series of sub-groups on the various aspects of the Action Plan to agree the details of the action plan including how partners and stakeholder can get involved, what the timescales are, what the challenges are likely to be and how they might be overcome.

As the Mayor acknowledged “I recognise that individual organisations will need to engage with this ambition at their own pace, and that this may prove especially challenging for some in the current environment.”

There are likely to be sub-groups covering areas such as local authorities, private businesses of all sizes, housing, the VCSE sector, campaigns, and others. There will be a focus on health and social care as a key sector.

GMLWC Co-ordinator John Hacking is keen to ensure that the regions’ campaign supporters and activists can be involved in the drive to achieve Living Wage city region status as they have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and information to contribute to this process.

This a good time for the GMLWC to discuss how we can make the best and most effective contribution. To this end there will be a meeting on Tuesday February 23rd, 2021 at 12.30pm.

The meeting is open to all who are interested in campaigning for the Real Living Wage in GM and will focus on the work to be done to achieve Living Wage City Region Accreditation. There will be an opportunity to hear the latest update on the Living Wage City Region Action Plan and how to get involved. We want to hear your ideas and suggestions that can help us to make this ambition a reality and improve the lives of tens of thousands of low paid workers and their families. There is much for us to build on but a real prize for us to gain. It would be great to see as many people as possible getting involved.

If you want to attend the meeting please book at Eventbrite.

In addition, if you have ideas, questions or comments ahead of the meeting wewould be delighted to hear from you.

John Hacking GM Living Wage coordinator for GM Poverty Action

Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign Coordinator John Hacking

Best Wishes and Stay Safe.

Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign Co-ordinator John Hacking
Email: john@gmpovertyaction.org
Twitter: @GMlivingwage
Facebook: facebook.com/gmlivingwage

The Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign is a Greater Manchester Poverty Action programme.

 

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Principal Partners 2021

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Principals Partners play a central role in supporting GMPA – could your organisation join them?

Investment infographic for GMPAGMPA is reliant on financial and non-financial support from funders and other stakeholders, including from our Principal Partners. The scheme was established in response to organisations who have expressed an interest in supporting the work of Greater Manchester Poverty Action (GMPA) at an enhanced level and contributing to the sustainability of the organisation. Principal Partners commit to supporting GMPA financially each year and through strategic advice and support.

Principal Partners share our vision and acknowledge the important role GMPA has to play in strengthening efforts to tackle poverty across the city region. We wanted to thank those organisations who have already confirmed their membership of the scheme in 2021.

PPs 2021 for GM Poverty Action

Why do Principal Partners support GMPA?

“Oxfam’s mission is to tackle poverty wherever we see it, around the world and in the UK, by working with communities to fight the injustices and inequalities that fuel it. We are therefore very pleased to support the work of GMPA as a lead and convener, working in partnership to challenge policies and practices and put the voices of people in poverty at the centre of change, to make Greater Manchester a fairer place for all.”
Silvia Galandini at Oxfam


“It’s often said that Greater Manchester is a thriving and exciting place to be. If you’re doing well, that’s true. But it is not true for everyone. We have not eliminated poverty. There are still massive differences in the opportunities, wealth and life expectancy of people who live and work here – something which the COVID19 crisis has highlighted more starkly than ever. Macc is a supporter of GMPA because we want to call attention to these issues, the factors which cause them and build a movement which will create real change.”
Mike Wild at Manchester Community Central


“Southway is proud to be a principal partner for GMPA and supports the important work the group does to fight against poverty in Greater Manchester. We are a committed and forward thinking not for profit community based housing provider, and fighting poverty is a key priority for us. Our vision is having thriving communities and a key measure of this is that we will have helped to eliminate child poverty within the next ten years. We recognise that we will only achieve this by working in partnership with others.”
Helen Sharples at Southway Housing Trust


To read more quotes from our Principal Partners click here.

If you’d like to have a conversation with us about your organisation becoming a Principal Partner please contact Graham Whitham.

 

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Tameside Poverty Truth Commission

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Tameside Poverty Truth Commission: Recruiting for Commissioners

Do you have lived experience of poverty and live in Tameside? Or know anyone who does?

Would you be interested in sharing your story of the struggles you have faced with people in positions of influence within Tameside so that together we can come up with ideas that will help others living in poverty?

The Poverty Truth Commission is a unique project where relationships are prioritised as a group of people who normally would not meet are brought together because of their lived experience and expertise and are able to use their voice to influence and shape a better Tameside.

We are looking to invite 12-15 people of all ages and backgrounds to join this commission. Initially we will meet weekly (using zoom until we can meet face to face) to get to know each other. There will then be a launch event where we will invite key decision makers to hear the impact of poverty going on in Tameside. After that, we will meet monthly with a group of 12-15 civic/business leaders and together we will spend time getting to know each other and deeply listening to the struggles that people face. We will not jump to quick solutions but instead think about better solutions that will help Tameside become a place where everyone can thrive.

If you are interested in joining this commission we would love to hear from you. Do get in touch with either Lizzie Bassford on 07898 710537 or Beatrice Smith on 07423 014430. Alternatively, you can email Lizzie

 

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Training Courses

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Training courses available to GMPA’s network over the next 6 months

Over the last 2 years we have delivered a small number of paid for training courses in partnership with Policy North Training. The courses equip stakeholders with the knowledge they need to fight poverty both in Greater Manchester and across the UK as a whole. This includes the following course

Maximising support for people on low incomes – taking place on Thursday 28th January and Monday 28th June. This course is for housing providers, VCSE and public sector organisations who work with people experiencing poverty and who wish to understand how to maximise support for their service users. Please sign up if you’re interested in understanding more about the current social security landscape and the financial and other help that’s available to low-income service users. To attend this course BOOK HERE.

Understanding poverty measurement, definitions and data – taking place on Thursday 25th March and Tuesday 11th May. This course is for people who want to understand more about how poverty is measured and how to access robust, accurate and up-to-date data. By the end of this one-day course participants have developed an understanding of what key poverty datasets tell us, how best to access data sources and how to use this knowledge to support the work that they do, whether that be designing services or writing funding bids. To attend this course BOOK HERE.We have two other course running during the first half of this year:

Identifying poverty data in Greater Manchester – Thursday 15th April – BOOK HERE.

Exploring the poverty premium – Friday 25th June – BOOK HERE.

Full course overviews and costs can be downloaded from the training page of our website.

 

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GM Inequalities Commission survey

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Achieving a fairer Greater Manchester is the focus of Inequalities Commission as new survey launches

People across Greater Manchester are to be asked to help tackle inequality to inform the work of the city-region’s Independent Inequalities Commission.

The drive to make Greater Manchester a more equal society will be informed by the online survey designed to  capture the views and experiences of residents.

The Commission, which reports to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and the 10 local authority Leaders, wants to hear from people who have a passion in making Greater Manchester a fairer and more equal place to grow up, get on and grow old – in particular those with knowledge of the city-region’s inequalities or who have experience working with marginalised groups.

The Independent Inequalities Commission is chaired by Kate Pickett, Professor of Epidemiology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Future Health at the University of York.  Kate is encouraging people to complete the survey, which closes on 31st January, “Working alongside my fellow Commission Members, I am really keen to hear the views of the people of Greater Manchester on how they would create a more equal society.

“Greater equality is better for everyone, but I know that there are barriers and issues such as poverty, low pay, poor health, and unattainable standards in education and skills that are an embedded part of people’s lives. That’s why we want to hear from you about your ideas on how we can get to grips with the root causes of inequality and change everyone’s lives for the better.

“The Commission should be informed by the views of people from as many different backgrounds as possible – please do encourage others you know to take part in this conversation.”

To find out more and undertake the survey log onto www.gmconsult.org.

 

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Review of 2020

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It has been a tough and challenging year for people across Greater Manchester. The pandemic has had huge short-term consequences for the city-region, and the economic and health effects will last long beyond 2020.

Everyone has had to adapt to multiple and changing demands during this year. This has been no less true for us at Greater Manchester Poverty Action (GMPA). We can say confidently that GMPA has shown its value to Greater Manchester, helping shape responses to hardship caused by the pandemic and informing the ongoing fight against poverty. We have been able to engage in COVID-19 related work, and at the same time taken forward key pieces of our 2020 workplan (recruiting to the Food Poverty Programme Coordinator role, running the GM Living Wage Campaign, working towards a Poverty Truth Commission in Tameside, publishing the GM Poverty Monitor and launching our report on local welfare assistance schemes).

As we head into 2021, we’d like to wish you all the best for the festive season. We hope you get the chance to have a rest and that you stay safe.

Best wishes,
The GMPA Team.

Strengthening the role of local welfare assistance

Local welfare assistance schemes, operated by local authorities across England, play an important role in responding to the needs of people facing a financial crisis, and help to prevent people reaching a crisis in the first place. However, there’s been limited policy discussion about how the effectiveness of these schemes could be maximised.Infographic for GM Poverty ActionGMPA’s new report (released last week) – Strengthening the role of local welfare assistance – identifies a series of recommendations for local authorities and their partners in Greater Manchester to adopt. The report draws on good practice from both within and outside the city region.

Visit our website to download the report, the tools developed to support implementation of the recommendations and to listen to the report author Simon Watts discussing the recommendations with our Chief Executive Graham Whitham.

In 2021 we’ll be working with councils and others across the city-region to implement the key findings.

Delivery during COVID-19

As a result of the pandemic GMPA has focussed on the immediate crisis caused by COVID-19. Whilst we are still working towards our vision of a city region free from poverty, we have had to adapt our workplan for 2020. During this period we focused our delivery on the following areas:

  • Gathering intelligence from food banks, food pantries/clubs and meal providers. This information has been used by the GMCA, GM Health and Social Care Partnership and each of the ten GM boroughs to coordinate food provision and support. Specifically:
    •  GMPA has been advising how to support residents on low incomes who would usually access support through services that have had to close or adapt their operations. We are using the intelligence described above to inform this work.
    •  Maintaining online maps of food aid providers and other support services available to people on low incomes. The food providers map has received 21,000 hits since the beginning of March.
  • Maintaining an understanding of how local authorities, the GMCA and other stakeholders are supporting people experiencing poverty. Specifically we have:
    •  Shaped the Equality Impact Assessment tools developed by local authorities to assess the impact of community responses (the provision of food, access to prescriptions and other welfare support) to the pandemic on different groups of the population. We developed a policy briefing and presented this to the GM Humanitarian Assistance Group in April. The briefing focussed on ensuring socio-economic status/poverty was included within the Equality Impact Assessment tools and explained how this could be done and the issues that should be taken into account. This was taken up by local authorities as a result of our work.
    •  Supported local authorities in allocating additional hardship funding from central government to people struggling financially during the pandemic. This included developing a policy briefing and presenting it to the GM Humanitarian Assistance Group. This focussed on maximising choice, dignity and control for recipients of local welfare support and considering how it could best meet immediate needs whilst also addressing the underlying causes of poverty.

Greater Manchester Poverty Monitor 2020

In October we launched an updated and improved Greater Manchester Poverty Monitor 2020 detailing some of the key statistics relating to poverty across the city region. The aim of the Monitor is to support policymakers and practitioners to understand levels of poverty in their area to help inform and shape responses to the issue.

The Poverty Monitors revealed that prior to the pandemic:

  • 620,000 people were living in poverty;
  • 200,000 children were in households with an income below the poverty line;
  • 157,000 households were experiencing fuel poverty;
  • Around a quarter of a million people were claiming help towards housing costs;
  • 20% of all jobs in Greater Manchester were paying less than the Real Living Wage.

The Monitor also found signs that already high levels of poverty in the city region are likely to have got worse during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits in GM rose by 93% between March and August 2020.
  • There has been a sharp increase in the number of people claiming Universal Credit in each of the city region’s ten boroughs.

In response to the findings of the Monitor, GMPA back national calls on the government to:

  • Introduce a UK wide anti-poverty strategy
  • End the two-child limit on benefits and the benefits cap
  • Boost Child Benefit payments, and
  • Make permanent the Universal Credit uplift introduced at the start of the pandemic.
    Keep the lifeline for GM Poverty Action

GMPA Programmes

Food Poverty Programme:

  • We recruited Dr. Sian Mullen to the Food Poverty Programme Coordinator post in June 2020;
  • We are developing two pilot projects in Tameside and Oldham that approach the issue of food poverty from an advice and cash first approach;
  • In addition to the contribution to GM’s food poverty Covid-19 response, we helped convene and run the GM Food Cell and the GM Food Operations Group;
  • We are also leading on the development of the food poverty section of Good Food Greater Manchester’s Good Food Vision;
  • We submitted evidence to Parliament’s “COVID-19 and food supply” committee, and produced several other briefings for GM local authorities’ food and humanitarian leads on issues such as Healthy Start Vouchers.

Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign:

  • We have continued to meet online as a campaign group through the Covid-19 pandemic, chaired by Campaign Coordinator John Hacking;
  • We ran or contributed to several events and meetings through the year, especially during Living Wage Week in November, engaging key employers and making the case for the Real Living Wage;
  • We have supported Salford’s, Oldham’s, and Manchester’s bids to become Living Wage places;
  • Greater Manchester announced its ambition to become the first real Living Wage City Region in the UK. We are offering our experience, assistance and support to achieve that ambition as soon as possible.

Tameside Poverty Truth Commission:

  • We recruited facilitators Beatrice Smith in April and Lizzie Bassford in December 2020;
  • We are bringing in the funds necessary to commit to the Commission, and are recruiting commissioners, with the aim of launching in summer 2021. Tameside Poverty Truth Commission for GM Poverty Action

 

 

 

 

 

i3oz9sReview of 2020
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A review of Living Wage Week 2020

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Three weeks on from Living Wage Week (9th to 15th November) we’ve had chance to draw breath and reflect on an incredibly busy and successful week. The week started on Monday with a North West event organised by the Living Wage Foundation. At this event, Steve Rotherham the Liverpool City Region Mayor announced the new real Living Wage rate as £9.50 (£10.85 in London).

At the same event the GM Mayor Andy Burnham called on partners and stakeholders to work together to make Greater Manchester the first real Living Wage City Region in the UK. We are offering our experience, assistance and  support to achieve that ambition as soon as possible. This is a significant step change in the fight against low pay in GM and we look forward to working with many of you in the coming months to make this ambition a reality.

Living Wage Week was obviously very different this year and our Campaign activities focussed on three online events with our partners to highlight a range of issues relating to the Real Living Wage and its importance in building back better from the pandemic:

Tuesday November 10th – Pay All Key Workers the Real Living Wage Rally
GM Living Wage Campaign and GM Citizens held an online rally in support of the Real Living Wage for all key workers. We heard testimonies from key workers and about national progress towards the Real Living Wage in social care. Key speakers were Steve North and Conor McGurran from UNISON.

Wednesday November 11th – Bolton: A Real Living Wage
GM Living Wage Campaign and our partners in Bolton, Boo Consulting and Coaching celebrated and promoted the Real Living Wage in Bolton. In the webinar we heard from accredited Living Wage employers in Bolton as well as employers who are interested in joining the movement.

Thursday November 12th – Exploring Challenges to Paying the Real Living Wage
In partnership with The Greater Manchester Employment Charter this event looked at the Real Living Wage in the context of the post pandemic economy. We had a panel, made up of representatives of the GM Living Wage Campaign, the Living Wage Foundation, USDAW and a representative from Rowlinson Knitwear, a Real Living Wage accredited employer. The event can be viewed here

There were a lot of other things going on. The Living Wage Foundation along with partners in Salford produced a short film promoting the Real Living Wage and Salford’s ambition to become England’s first Living Wage City. You can view the film here.

Our colleagues in the Greater Manchester Housing Providers Partnership (GMHP) (many of whom are already Real Living Wage accredited employers) released a report on the work they have done to support residents into work and the commitment they are continuing to make towards the Real Living Wage movement in GM. The report can be read here.

John Hacking GM Living Wage coordinator for GM Poverty Action

Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign Coordinator John Hacking

Best Wishes and Stay Safe.

Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign Co-ordinator, John Hacking

Email John Hacking
Twitter: @GMlivingwage           Facebook: facebook.com/gmlivingwage

 

 

 

i3oz9sA review of Living Wage Week 2020
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Debt and its impact on health

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Responding to the debt crisis and its impact on health
by Simon Watts, Public Health Registrar on placement with GMPA

Turn2us logo for GM Poverty Action article on debtNew research based on a survey of 2,500 adults was published by Turn2Us last week revealing the levels of indebtedness which are now facing many residents across the UK:

•  One in three families are getting into debt as a result of the pandemic;

•  One in five people are now ‘always or most of the time’ running out of money before pay day; pre-Covid this number was closer to one in nine;

•  Younger age groups, those with a disability or those from a Black or Asian background are all more likely to run out of money before payday than other groups;

•  Of those surveyed who have accessed debt since March, nearly two thirds could only manage for less than a week if they lost their primary income source.

This shows how little financial resilience many people have. As a result, multiple sources of debt, which at some point must be repaid, have become increasingly relied upon.

The Office for National Statistics find that those in the most income deprived areas are likely to rely on debt more, and further analysis suggests average unsecured debt level is now a staggering £15,000 per household. This is less surprising when you consider the high interest rates associated with payday loans, which can exceed 1500% APR and that those lower income groups, who can’t access affordable credit options, pay an average of £527 more when they buy a household appliance. These are examples of the poverty premium, whereby if you earn less, your costs are higher.

And debt is not just a Covid related problem. The insolvency rate before Covid across most local authority areas in Greater Manchester was at or above the peak following the 2008 recession; we entered the pandemic in a bad position in terms of debt.

The impact of problematic debt is wide, leading to relationship loss, loss of your home, inability to get a home, or a phone contract. The legacy of having debt problems, even once the debt has been written off or repaid, is felt for a long time. The health impact of debt can be severe, with a review of the evidence on debt and health finding that debt was associated with depression and other mental illnesses and in some cases suicide, as well as physical health problems. Given that certain groups of the population (identified above) experience the biggest problems with debt, these negative health impacts are not evenly distributed and contribute to widening health inequalities between groups.

UK debt levels are a public health crisis. The Turn2us research makes several recommendations, including increasing funding for Local Welfare Assistance Schemes (LWAS). GMPA very much support this suggestion, as well as other recommendations in the report including reducing waiting time for Universal Credit (UC) and maintaining the £20 UC uplift, but we would also support further action.

Forthcoming GMPA research into LWAS highlights the excellent support offered by debt advice and money management teams across Greater Manchester; but these services are getting busier. A focus on prevention is needed that seeks to reduce the number of people entering debt crisis, but also ensures those whose health is suffering as a result of debt can access the right support. This isn’t just about helping those already in financial crisis, though that is important. It is also about lower income groups not always able to access affordable credit, it’s about responsible lending, illegal money lending, discussing the dangers of debt with young people and much, much more. And the approach needs to be consistent and coordinated across the city region, so that where residents live doesn’t determine their likelihood of getting into problematic debt.

Simon Watts for GM Poverty Action article on debt

Simon Watts

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with debt and money management, support is available from your local authority and other partner organisations. This website provides a useful directory of the support available, and you can find a range of information and advice services listed on the Maps of Support Services page of GMPA’s website.

 

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